The Trial of Galileo
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Church Team #2
In continuing Team #1's criticism of Copernicanism, show that Galileo does not decisively solve the problems of motion implied by a rotating Earth.

  • Discuss the weaknesses in Galileo's concept of falling bodies.
  • Discuss how Galileo ultimately fails to solve the problem of motion with his concept of relative motion. Underscore the common sense of direct observations (for example, calculate the proposed velocity of the earth in Rome?).
  • Discuss the weaknesses in Galileo's theory of the tides (especially their timing) and Kepler's alternative (1609)
For further depth, discuss:
  • [in coordination with Team 4] Galileo's desperate efforts to provide physical evidence related to the Earth's motion, exemplified in his unsuccessful effort to enlist Gilbert's arguments (end of Day 3) and/or in his dismissal of Kepler's theory of the tides.


    On falling bodies, see:
  • Day 2 of the Dialogue, esp. Fig. 8 on p. 192 (and Galileo's discussion of it)
  • Heilbron's The Sun in the Church, pp. 176-180.

    On motion, see:
  • Day 2 of the Dialogue
  • Ernan McMullin's Chap. 8 in Machamer (1998)
  • Feldhay's Galileo and the Church

    On tides, see:
  • Day 4 of the Dialogue.
    (Also: use the index or word search to find discussion of Kepler!)
  • Stillman Drake, "History of science and tide theories," Physis 21(1979): 61-69.
  • David Edgar Cartwright's Tides: A Scientific History
  • Clifford Conners' A People's History of Science, pp. 206-209.
  • Finocchiaro's footnote commentary in Galileo and the World Systems (pp. 282ff).
  • William Shea, Galileo's Intellectual Revolution, pp.172-189. [MLAC 520.9 G133sh 9ZAR07D52S04TGX ]
  • Ernan McMullin's Galileo: Man of Science, pp. 31-42.
  • Johannes Kepler's Somnium (translated with a commentary by Edward Rosen, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1967). [However, note that this was not published in 1634.]